Basehor Dairy Days festival becoming prize cow
Krazy Kats Band
1:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday
The Krazy Kats Band will likely attract some of its local following of fans to its performance Saturday afternoon, festival organizer Lila White said.
“They really are good,” White said. “They're very enjoyable.”
According to the band's website, krazykats.net, the trio formed in 1957 when its three members were in high school in Moberly, Mo. The group, which has played at Dairy Days in the past, plays a selection of oldies from the 1950s and '60s, White said, including a crowd-pleasing stretch of Elvis Presley songs during which one member dons a full Elvis costume.
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday
A four-piece bluegrass band from the unincorporated town of Fairmount north of Basehor, the appropriately named Fairmounters released their first CD of music earlier this year, guitar player Randy McDowell said.
The group, which also includes McDowell's two younger brothers Ricky and Ronnie, began playing together about five years ago, he said.
“We're all in our 50s,” McDowell said. “We waited a long time to start doing this for some reason.”
Many of the band's songs are original compositions, he said. The Fairmounters played at the Leavenworth County Fair in 2010, but this will be their first time performing at Dairy Days.
The Lonnie Ray Blues Band
6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday
A husband-and-wife duo lead the Lonnie Ray Blues Band, said Dairy Days committee member Jenne Laytham, who booked the group for the festival's kickoff picnic.
The group is well-known in the Kansas City area, Laytham said, and has played before at the Basehor Community Library's summer concerts and at Kelley's Grille and Bar in Basehor.
“They're a really neat band,” Laytham said.
Six years in, the Basehor Dairy Days festival is no longer a start-up, Lila White says.
Dairy Days is an established tradition now, said White, who leads the volunteer committee that organizes the festival each year. Visitors come from other towns, area bands know it as a place to play for good crowds and organizers of other local festivals call for help and advice.
“I guess we’re on the map now,” White said.
This year’s sixth annual Dairy Days kicks off with a concert and picnic from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at Basehor City Park, 15940 Leavenworth Rd. The full-fledged festival takes place from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, also at the city park, which by the weekend is set to have newly paved entrances and parking areas after the Basehor City Council agreed to fund the project in a special meeting last month.
The festival began when a group of residents hoped to start an annual festival tradition in Basehor to match those in other area towns, White said, and decided to make the festival’s theme reflect Basehor’s dairy-farming history.
Each year since then, the festival has had something new to offer, she said, thanks to the efforts of an eight-person committee with representatives from the Basehor Chamber of Commerce, the city, Basehor Community Library, the Basehor-Linwood School District and more. About a week after each year’s festival, White said, the group gathers to begin planning the next one.
“We’ve really worked hard to have this grow every year, a little bit at a time,” White said.
This year, the festival will add some educational elements for children, she said, including a mobile smoke house that teaches about fire safety simulating an exit from a burning building, a Girl Scout troop that will answer questions about dairy farming and a 4-H group that will bring in a live dairy calf for milking demonstrations.
Also new will be horse-and-buggy rides provided by the Basehor Historical Museum Society. As an effort to keep costs low and help out area nonprofit groups, White said, the festival organizers are allowing those nonprofits to operate rides and other attractions at Dairy Days and collect donations.
“We really are helping the community here,” White said.
One of the early events Saturday, the Dairy Days 5K run, is not quite new, but it’s back after a two-year absence because of the efforts of a local running enthusiast, Elizabeth Novo-Gradac. (Go here for more on the 5K run.)
The Gunsmoke and Petticoats Old West Show will return to the festival this year after it was a hit with audiences last year, White said. The reenactment group will perform three shows, at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., up from two last year.
The popular Chris Cakes Pancake Breakfast will also return, she said. It will begin at 7 a.m. as usual, but this year it will run until 10 a.m. to allow for late sleepers.
Other returning favorites include pony rides, a petting zoo and a mechanical milking cow provided by the Midwest Dairy Association, she said.
White said she also encouraged visitors to visit the Kansas Lions mobile health screening unit, where checks on vision, hearing, blood pressure and more will be available free of charge.
“You can’t beat free nowadays,” White said.
White said the Krazy Kats Band, a Kansas City-area oldies trio in existence since 1957, would highlight the musical performances. The Krazy Kats take the stage from 1:30-3:30 p.m.
The other bands performing will be The Fairmounters, a local bluegrass group, from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, and The Lonnie Ray Blues Band at the kickoff picnic Friday night.
Admission to the festival is free, and though a few attractions and rides have costs, they’re all low, White said.
“We’re trying to keep this affordable for our residents,” she said.
Though the festival tends to draw a few out-of-towners from surrounding communities, White said, it exists for the benefit of Basehor. It gives the city’s residents a unique opportunity to gather in one place, it helps bring in sales for local businesses and sales taxes for the city, and it offers a day of fun on the cheap.
“This is for the city of Basehor: our people, our residents,” White said. “That’s why we’re doing it. We love our city.”
Friday, June 3
6:30-8:30 p.m.: Kickoff
- Picnic in the park and concert by The Lonnie Ray Blues Band
- Visitors can bring a picnic dinner or choose from hot dogs, bratwurst, polish sausage and root beer floats available for purchase.
Saturday, June 4
7-10 a.m.: Chris Cakes pancake breakfast
7:30 a.m.: Dairy Days 5K run — Basehor-Linwood High School parking lot
- Registration 6:45 a.m., warm-up 7 a.m.
9-9:30 a.m.: Kaw Valley Community Chorus
10 a.m.: Sarah's Studio of Dance
10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Shriners clowns
11 a.m.: Gunsmoke and Petticoats Old West Show
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Performance by The Fairmounters
12:30 p.m.: White Tiger Performance Group
1-2 p.m.: Appearance by Sizzle the Bull, official mascot of the Kansas City T-Bones
1 p.m.: Gunsmoke and Petticoats Old West Show
1:30-3:30 p.m.: Performance by the Krazy Kats Band
3 p.m.: Gunsmoke and Petticoats Old West Show
Other events & attractions
9 a.m.-4 p.m.
• Inflatable games • Cow milking machine • Face painting
• Food vendors • Craft vendors • Milk cans on parade
• Gunsmoke and Petticoats Old West Town • Horse and buggy rides
• Carnival games • Caricaturist • Dairy cow
• Spin the Apple and Tornado rides • Petting zoo and pony rides
• Mobile smoke house — fire safety demonstration
• Complimentary Roberts Dairy Products